Commentary

Depends On Your Perspective

According to a new LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll in June, 2009, of consumers and advertisers involved in the advertising decision making process, there are often disparate views of the effectiveness of advertising types. While over half of advertisers believe ads that make people stop and think (53%) and ads that give people new information (51%) are very effective, just three in ten consumers (30% and 29% respectively) feel the same, says the report.

When it comes to types of ads, advertisers and consumers agree on the effectiveness of some, but disagree on others.

  • 26% of advertisers think ads that are integrated into the feel of the program, that is has the same tone as the program it is based in, are very effective compared to just 7% of consumers
  • When it comes to ads that show before/after, 24% of advertisers say they are very effective while only 13% of consumers say they are very effective
  • 21% of advertisers say ads that reinforce a message already known are very effective compared to 10% of consumers

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Consumers and advertisers both like ads that amuse:

  • 34% of consumers and 41% of advertisers say entertaining ads are very effective
  • 33% of consumers and 32% of advertisers say funny ads are very effective
  • 11% of consumers and 14% of advertisers say ads that don‘t take themselves seriously are very effective. In fact, 18% of consumers say these ads are not at all effective

Looking at advertisements that might not work:

  • 41% of consumers and 32% of advertisers believe that scary ads are not at all effective
  • 27% of consumers and 18% of advertisers say ads about a serious topic that make people feel slightly guilty are not at all effective

Advertisers are using certain types of strategies for addressing the economic crisis, but is it working with consumers, asks the report:

  • 61% of  advertisers say they are using a value proposition strategy, promoting sales, coupons and discounts,  and almost three in five 57% of consumers say that this strategy is working very well or well to help them sell their products or services
  • 39% of advertisers are using empathy, that is, the companies understand what consumers are going through. But only 24% of consumers say empathy works very or somewhat well and 33% say it does not work at all
  • 25% of advertisers say they are using cheerleading, "we‘ve made it through tough times before, we‘ll do it again, and we can help you do it." 38% of consumers, however, say that these types of ads do not work at all
  • Only 18% advertisers say they are using "luxuries for less" as a campaign, but 34% of consumers say these types of ads work very well or well in selling products or services
  • Among consumers, there is a generational divide as the younger age groups (18- 34) are more likely to say each of these four strategies works very well or well. In fact, 51% of 18-34 year olds say they think "luxuries for less" works very well or well compared to just 19% of those 55 and older.

Advertisers and those to whom they are advertising tend to see the world somewhat differently, concludes the report. For example, for a particular television ad advertisers are often thinking sales while consumers are more likely to think of the ad as something they liked watching.

According to Marianne Foley, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Harris Interactive, "... this isn‘t the most important story though. The research indicates that in this current economic environment, messages that talk money are of paramount interest to consumers... ads that emphasize value propositions or luxuries for less appeal to consumers more so than empathy and cheerleading.

Effectiveness Of Advertising Types (Base: Advertisers; % of Respondents)"How effective do you think each of these characteristics of advertising are?"

ADS THAT:

Very effective

Somewhat effective

Not that effective

Not at all effective

make me stop and think

53%

41%

5%

1%

give me new information

51

45

3

*

are entertaining

41

48

9

1

are informative

37

54

9

1

are funny

32

56

10

2

have a product demonstration

27

56

15

2

are integrated into the feel of the program

26

52

20

3

show before/after

24

53

20

3

reinforce a message I already know

21

53

22

4

don‘t take themselves seriously

14

48

29

9

are about a serious topic that may leave me feeling slightly guilty

5

33

44

18

are scary

3

22

43

32

Source: LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll, July, 2009

  

Effectiveness Of Advertising Types  (Base: All U.S. Adults; % of Consumers) "How effective do you think each of these characteristics of advertising are?"

ADS THAT:

Very Effective

Somewhat Effective

Not that Effective

Not at all Effective

are entertaining

34%

53%

8%

5%

are funny

33

52

10

5

are informative

30

58

8

4

make me stop and think

30

55

9

5

give me new information

29

60

7

4

have a product demonstration

20

55

18

7

show before/after

13

50

25

12

don‘t take themselves seriously

11

42

29

18

reinforce a message I already know

10

47

30

12

are integrated into the feel of the program

7

45

34

14

are about a serious topic that may leave me feeling slightly guilty

6

29

38

27

are scary

3

20

36

41

Source: LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll, July, 2009

Please visit HarrisInteractive here to find PDF file of the LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll

 

4 comments about "Depends On Your Perspective".
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  1. Tilly Pick from Development Practice 360, LLC., July 30, 2009 at 10:37 a.m.

    I've always found it odd to simply ask people what they think is effective versus monitoring their progression through the purchase funnel and evaluating different communications tactics against that progression. 99.9% of the time it's a set of inputs and cues we've collected over time that takes us from awareness towards action, each likely influencing us in different ways and on different levels. While there may be interesting takeaways from the study (as there always are when you invite feedback), I wish you had put your commentary and observations in context of the bigger effectiveness picture. My feeling is that you oversimplified and lost substance in the process.

  2. Jonathan Cardona from Recreational Equipment Inc., July 30, 2009 at 10:43 a.m.

    Interesting statistics. I think it'd be great to see the same questions asked about advertisements that invoke fear - insurance company showing a car accident, financial company saying you'll lose your retirement money, home alarm systems company showing a break-in etc. Maybe this is covered under "Ads that are about a serious topic..." But, I find it amazing that companies will take advantage of consumers' lack of confidence in the economy and increased sense of vulnerability to sell their goods and services. In my opinion, these are companies that I would trust the least. It's dirty marketing.

  3. Michelle Cubas from Positive Potentials LLC, July 30, 2009 at 3:29 p.m.

    Jack,

    It seems we were born on the same planet! Taking the contrarian approach in my coaching practice, I have reached the same conclusion years ago.

    Often, companies developing ads have to justify their existence and customer costs and can be blinded by what they want to happen. Some companies feel they know what's best without having to ask the hoi polloi.

    The passive advertising vs. the dynamic ads like on websites create a dilemma. The dashboard needs different criteria on them. Sometimes ads are as simple as marking a "place" in the clients' spheres.

    My professional perspective is that marketing has been made too complicated. There is less emphasis on positioning why people need to know about a company/service rather than promoting a calculated formula to accrue money for the marketing campaign.

    Within my own company, there is a refreshed return to basics of listening and researching industry aspects then bringing our clients the information. Self selection is a powerful connection and clients appreciate it as part of our service.

  4. Tim Orr from Barnett Orr Marketing Group, Inc., August 2, 2009 at 6:43 p.m.

    Trouble is, one group, the advertisers, has a vested interest in defending the type of advertising it has chosen to do, and the other group, the audience, hasn't a clue what works and what doesn't.

    Fact is, Tilly has it just about right: Why don't we look at the results and the behavior of the targets, and forget about what the targets and the shooters *think* is what works?

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